Sonora wins tight one against Troy
FULLERTON – It's a thick line between playing at home versus on the road, and Sonora crossed it Tuesday. Raiders coach Mike Murphy expected playing at Troy would be a much more arduous task than his team's 47-point romp over the Warriors at home three weeks ago.
"That's a solid basketball team," Murphy said. "We haven't had many close games. I was anxious to see how it would be because it's going to be like that the rest of the way."
Murphy got the playoff tune-up he envisioned as Sonora defeated Troy, 60-57.
All 21 of the Raiders' previous victories, in fact, had been by double digits, while two of their three defeats were by one point.
Sonora (22-3, 8-1) will play host to Sunny Hills on Thursday to decide the Freeway League title.
"You never take a league title for granted," said Murphy, who has won 10 of them during his tenure at Sonora. "It's always special."
Sonora sealed the victory against Troy (18-8, 6-3) with its defense. Guard Josh Rodriguez and forward Travis Ryal came up with steals late. Guard Jimmy Golden held Troy's top scorer Ben Stiver well below his season average. Adam Marlow contained Troy guard Devin Manning, who had multiple offensive fouls and eventually fouled out.
Rodriguez scored a team-high 16 points, Ryal had 15 and Andrew Talley had 13.
"The guy that held us together was Josh Rodriguez," Murphy said. "He made big shots, made a lot of good decisions. For a sophomore, that's really impressive."
Troy, which trailed by 16 in the third quarter, cut its deficit to four on a layup by guard Chris Pumarachai midway through the fourth quarter. Troy was then unable to capitalize on two intentional fouls by Sonora, turning the ball over six times in the final minutes.
Pumarachai finished with 16 points, Johnny Bayeh had 14 points and Manning had 10.
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